Ringleader Jailed In Bogus CheckScheme

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NORFOLK, Va. - (10/24/05) -- A 35-year-old ringleader of a schemethat stole as much as $500,000 from area credit unions and banksusing phony checks was sentenced last week to 15 years in prison.Craig Brown, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy, bank fraud andmaking false claims in June, was also ordered to pay $222,000 inrestitution. Brown is the eighth of 10 defendants in the ring to besentenced. The group deposited phony or stolen checks in more thantwo dozen credit unions and banks in Hampton Roads and Richmond,then withdrew the funds as soon as possible before the checks couldbe detected, splitting the proceeds with Brown. Brown, a CPA, alsoprepared phony tax returns for his accomplices, in which heinflated their income, falsely allowing them to claim refunds,which they split with Brown. Among the credit unions victimizedwere: NAE FCU, Navy FCU, Chartway FCU, Port Alliance FCU, FortStill FCU and Langley FCU.

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